C-suite recruitment can be notoriously difficult. The search for those that are going to be sitting in the highest-level leadership roles is not one to be taken lightly. It is vital to find people to take on the demands of these positions that are qualified, skilled, experienced and that will also fit well into the team and the culture of your company.
Not only that, with the evolving nature of roles in the C-suite, new challenges crop up over time too. For example, there are indications that CEOs of the future need to have a stronger understanding and focus on marketing. Tesco Chief Executive Dave Lewis was the marketer responsible for Unilever’s hugely successful Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, and Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe was formerly the Marketing Director at Tesco. Figures show that 21% of European Chief Execs have a marketing background – up from 15% in 2011.
It is also no longer the case that CEOs must grow for years with the brands they come to manage. “CEOs are a broad bunch, but there’s an appreciation they no longer need to ‘serve their time’ like they used to,” says Brenda Trenowden, former managing director of Lloyds Banking Group. “Nowadays, being at one company all your life could work against you. They need broader experience. They have to grasp technology better and be more versatile.”
So, with the roles evolving and an increasingly candidate-led market, what are five of the challenges you should be preparing for in 2020 and beyond (putting aside Coronavirus)?
Executives know they are in demand and that they can not only pick between job offers, but also to hold great power during negotiations. It is important that you, as a company in the market for a new C-suite employee, has an understanding of what a competitive C-suite package looks like in 2020. This includes knowing what salary is reasonable to offer, as well as other benefits that CEOs and similar would expect in return for their expertise. In 2020, this could be a more flexible role with more WFH time and flexibility to enable them to achieve an optimal work/life balance. Other factors include health benefits, holiday allowance, shares, retirement plans and bonuses.
And, with Millennials and Gen Z rising through the ranks and ultimately ending up in C-suite and leadership positions, an understanding of their wants and needs when it comes to remuneration is also important. Are you offering prospective employees modern remuneration packages that are putting you above your competition?
It’s also important to offer a working environment that rivals your competitor’s offering. You’re competing for top executive talent, and to be able to keep up it’s vital that you cultivate a strong employer brand that makes talent want to work with you. This means ensuring that your culture, environment and values inspire executive candidates to want to join you. Do you have strong values, and does you company live and breathe them? Are you doing enough to advertise your amazing company culture in a way that makes people think “I’d love to work there?”
2. Millennials in leadership
Something else to be considered is the influx of Millennials and Gen Z into leadership roles. As baby boomers retire, it’s up to Millennials and Gen Z employees to take the helm, which is going to create big changes company-wide. These generations tend to be less dictatorial than their predecessors may have been and will likely be looking to step away from “traditional” top-down structures into flatter management structures and a more collaborative and transparent working environment.
In terms of recruitment and bringing in younger talent with differing attitudes towards management, communication, work/life balance and feedback, this could be a wholescale company change. Are you ready to embrace new views, and challenges to your current infrastructure, policies and long-held ways of working?
3. Skills gap
As mentioned earlier, older generations retiring means that the younger generations are having to step into leadership roles. The problem with this is, many aren’t prepared or trained to make this transition. Meaning the candidate pools for these roles, already quite small and easily exhausted, only continue to shrink.
It’s up to companies to create programs that will develop the skills within the workforce that will generate the leaders of tomorrow.
Until then, it is executive recruitment companies that are able to assist in filling your C-suite requirements, thanks to pools of pre-vetted, qualified candidates that give you the opportunity to select candidates that you know have the skills, experience and personality to succeed within your company.
Diversity, equality and inclusion are hot topics, and rightly so. It is not only something that shareholders, customers, employees and potential employees wants to see – there are now laws and regulations in place or being planned worldwide. These include gender quotas, a regulation that has proved effective in many countries, including France, Iceland and Norway.
This begs the question; does your leadership team currently reflect your market and your customers? Studies show that diversity does increase the bottom line for companies, and that “increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance.”
It can be a challenge to get past the unconscious biases still apparent when it comes to leadership and C-suite positions, but it is worthwhile undertaking the training and doing the research to understand the many benefits of a diverse leadership team and the positive effect it has on the performance and productivity of your company.
Another difficulty in recruiting top executive talent can also be location. If you’re based in a lesser known location, you could face difficulty in “selling” your opportunity to candidates that have previously worked in bustling cities and are unsure of a move to a sleepier small town.
There’s a lot of factors to be considered when relocating, as well as a potential need to adjust to a new lifestyle – such as that of moving from a city to a town or vice versa – as well as the need to take partners and children into account. A big move would require research into potential roles for other family members, local schools, colleges, and the general quality of life available in the area. This is without an understanding of the affordability of a relocation, and the suitability and availability of housing. Plus, there’s even more to consider in an international move, like visas, work permits and other necessary paperwork.
To combat this, ensure that you have this information available before you approach candidates. The more information you can provide, the more you can alleviate any anxiety around a relocation.
Executive search is a challenge, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor that is worth the time, effort and expense to recruit the right person to lead your company to future success. It takes strategy and creativity, which is something we can help you with!
We can connect you with the best vetted executive talent from all over the planet, whether that be for a permanent position or an interim role. Please get in touch today to learn more about how we can help you find the perfect candidate for your C-suite needs, or check out our website to find out more.